Harry Potter fans might be surprised to learn that the magical wizarding sport of quidditch can be played right here in Provo.
The Provo Quidditch team was formed earlier this past January. The co-ed team trains at bi-weekly practices and competes against local teams in tournaments. They have four tournaments during fall semester and will compete at a regional tournament in February.
Quidditch is an enchanting sport to watch in the Harry Potter movies, but how exactly is it played in the muggle world? The rules of “muggle quidditch” are actually quite similar to those of quidditch in the Harry Potter universe, with the obvious exceptions of course. The game is quite physical and requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination and endurance from the players.
Players figuratively “fly” around the field by holding a PVC pipe “broom” between their legs with one hand. Teams have three chasers who move the quaffle down the field, two beaters who kick or throw the bludgers at opposing chasers, one keeper who guards the team’s hoops and one seeker who searches for the snitch. Here’s the kicker — the golden snitch is actually someone who dresses in all gold or yellow and runs around the field. The snitch runner has a tennis ball in a sock hanging from the back of their pants that the seeker must snatch in order to end the game.
“It is one of the most fun things you can do,” team captain Alexis Kaegi said. “And honestly, in my opinion, you might as well try it once. And when people come out for the first time it really is magical. You get hooked and you want to keep playing because it’s so fun.”
Kaegi has a passion for quidditch and has played for several years. She started in high school where she started her first team.
Kaegi describes quidditch as both athletic and whimsical. She and the team take the sport seriously by practicing with drills and scrimmages just like any other sports team.
“I just really love the sport,” Kaegi said. “It’s really complicated. There’s a lot of strategy to it and it’s very unique and incorporates a lot of other sports strategies as well.”
The Provo Quidditch team gets most of their players from referrals and welcomes people of all skill levels. Quidditch unites people of all different backgrounds. Many players have athletic experience while some simply like to be active and enjoy the camaraderie of the team.
“You have people who have played sports before, people who haven’t and people who normally wouldn’t do anything activity wise all coming together,” beater captain Jackson Berg said.
Berg’s roommate brought him to practice one day and from there he was hooked.
Quidditch is not an official college sport, but it gives students and locals a chance to have a team experience. Provo’s team recently became an official United States Quidditch team in August 2015 and is one of four Utah teams that is nationally recognized. The US Quidditch association has almost 200 teams nationwide with over 4,000 athletes. The association hosts nine major tournaments throughout the year and trains and certifies official referees and snitches.
Muggle quidditch is a fairly new sport and was first played in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. Players showed up to participate wearing capes fashioned from towels with one student even bringing a lamp to ride instead of a broom. Quidditch was first televised in 2013 and continues to gain traction among players of all ages.
Provo Quidditch practices are open to anyone who wants to play. More information about practice scheduling can be found on their Facebook page.